Australia’s government has released its 2020 energy forecast, which says it will get a little less wind and a lot more solar energy.
Key points:Australia’s new energy policy promises to boost the nation’s renewable energy productionThe report says wind and solar will continue to growBut it predicts solar will have a much harder time catching up with the nation, because of the country’s climate change policyThe new policy will see the country grow its solar output by 25 per cent a year, from 730 megawatts (MW) in 2020 to more than 3,300MW by 2030.
This year’s wind power forecast shows the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has projected more than a 50 per cent increase in solar output in 2020 compared with 2020, while wind power will grow by less than 10 per cent.
Wind has the highest potential energy value in the country, at $3.9 trillion, followed by solar at $2.4 trillion.
But it is predicted that solar will need to increase its power generation by more than $150 billion over the next four years to catch up with its growing solar output.
It is a sign of the challenges ahead that this report doesn’t include a detailed analysis of Australia’s energy future.
“We’ve got a very complex environment with so many variables, so it’s going to be a long and difficult road ahead,” Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the energy market, there’s a very challenging environment, so there’s going’t be an easy answer in the next few years.”
The energy strategy for 2020 says the government will use the money it collects from carbon and emissions trading to invest in renewables and reduce carbon emissions.
It’s a move that has been welcomed by renewable energy advocates, who say it is the most realistic way to deliver on its climate change commitments.
“The report is very comprehensive, but at the end of the day, it is a political document and that means it has to be balanced,” Energy and Resources spokesman Chris McNeil said.
But the report says the Government should use the wind and sun to generate power, rather than relying on fossil fuels.
“This means increasing the generation of renewable energy, as well as improving the efficiency of the existing system and ensuring that new technologies are developed to deliver greater solar and wind power generation and energy storage,” the report states.
“But we also need to ensure that we have a strong and robust national grid to support these renewable sources of energy and support the transition to a low carbon economy.”
But the government is not saying how it will achieve its renewable energy targets.
Instead, it says it wants to see “a national renewable energy infrastructure, supported by an effective, flexible, reliable and resilient national grid” that can support both wind and PV.
But that doesn’t mean the government has ruled out using renewable energy as a fuel for cars.
It says the Federal Government will not be using its current fuel policy to encourage investment in renewable energy.
“In 2020, the Federal government will not use the fuel policy of the previous government to promote the expansion of renewable energies,” the Energy and Resource Development Minister Peter Dutton said.
He said it would be up to the private sector to decide whether they wanted to invest directly into renewable energy or whether they needed support from the Government.
“At the moment, it’s an important question mark as to whether private investment is going to increase, because the energy markets are very uncertain,” Mr Dutton told ABC Radio Hobart.
“It’s quite clear that there’s no certainty at all in the future.”
But he said the Government would be taking an “active and responsible” role in supporting the renewable energy industry.
“You know, the Government is keen to encourage this industry and the innovation and the investment in it.
We’re not going to go against the will of the private industry.”
Topics:energy,energy-and-utilities,climate-change,environment,energy,environmental-policy,business-economics-and-“politics,”government-and/or-politics,government-news,climate,australiaFirst posted May 08, 2020 11:56:23Contact Paula DeYoungMore stories from Tasmania